... and, of course, there will undoubtedly be deputations and robust political exchanges across the Chamber - all before any final vote is taken.
But, in the interests of being as open and frank about all of this as possible, my personal view is that its best that I publish the current Coalition-position (far below) and the aligned News Release (immediately below) which will - absolutely undoubtedly - both get into the public domain today anyhow.
I know, only too well, that this decision will be a huge disappointment to many campaigners - and I'm not going to pretend their frustration, annoyance, and likely anger isn't very real and/or understandable ... but I do hope that people can also try and place themselves in our shoes and see that we have had a very difficult choice to make here, and have tried to ensure wider (and longer term) positives beyond the use of the Leith Waterworld building itself ...
CAPITAL COALITION PUTS FORWARD MOTION ON LEITH WATERWORLDThe City of Edinburgh Council is set to consider a motion put forward by the Capital Coalition proposing to sell Leith Waterworld to A&G Property Group for £1m to create a substantial soft play and leisure facility.
The coalition motion also proposes to allocate £125,000 to fund swimming programmes for primary school children in Edinburgh – in recognition of Splashback’s commitment to making swimming accessible and affordable.
A&G Property Group have offered to purchase Leith Waterworld for £1m from the Council and propose to spend around £1.3m on refurbishing the building. Their offer would also see over 80 jobs created in the local area.
Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “This has been a very difficult decision and one that this Council does not take lightly. Firstly I’d like to thank Splashback for the work and commitment they have demonstrated in progressing the community bid. However this coalition feels that the potential purchaser will create a high quality leisure facility that will greatly benefit the community in Leith and the wider Edinburgh area.
“In recognition of Splashback’s commitment to creating affordable and accessible swimming opportunities for young people in the community, we’re proposing to commit £125,000 towards free swimming for primary aged children in Edinburgh.“Ultimately this option ensures that the community in Leith has an accessible leisure facility for many years to come, that swimming opportunities are available and also that the Council gets best value for the taxpayers of Edinburgh.”
MOTION by the CAPITAL COALITION
Item No. 8.2 (a) & (b)
Report Title: Leith Waterworld (a) Progress on Community Bid and (b) Potential Sale of Leith Waterworld
1) Council notes the progress on the Community Bid for Leith Waterworld detailed in report number 8.2(a) and thanks all members of the Working Group (comprising Splashback, elected members and officers) for their significant efforts.
2) Council notes the bid for Leith Waterworld from A&G Property Group detailed in report number 8.2(b) in order to convert it to provide a high quality soft play leisure facility.
3) Council notes that the potential purchaser is committed to satisfying any suspensive conditions and concluding the purchase of the property within 60 days of Council approval of the sale being given. And, as paragraph 2.8 of report number 8.2(b) concludes, this means that the missives which will be put in place for the sale of the property will incorporate safeguards to ensure that the proposed leisure facility is created within a specific timescale. The Council will thereafter rigorously monitor the agreed timescale.
4) Council therefore reluctantly agrees to conclude further development of the Community Bid and:
(a) to sell Leith Waterworld to A&G Property Group for £1m for the creation of a substantial soft play and leisure facility;
(b) to include the Council’s interest as landlord in the long ground lease to Tesco over the adjoining store car park; and
(c) to approve the sale in accordance with the terms set out in report number 8.2(b) and on such other terms and conditions as to be approved by the Finance and Budget Committee.
(d) to ensure ongoing dialogue with A&G Property Group in order to maximise any community benefits that may accrue from their development, such as local employment opportunities and community access arrangements.
5) Recognising Splashback’s commitment to make swimming accessible and affordable for children across the city, Council further agrees, in accordance with the earlier decision of 31 January 2013, to proceed with the release of £125,000 from Corporate funds in the current 2013/14 financial year; these monies now to be ring-fenced to fund a ‘Culture & Sport-led programme’ of free swimming opportunities for primary aged children in Edinburgh, and other free swimming initiatives; and that the impact of these programmes will be monitored and assessed.
Moved by Councillor Richard Lewis
Seconded by Councillor Norma Austin Hart